News and Trends

Thami Mbenekazi

HL chatted to Thami Mbenekazi about his brave move from IT to art and the trends and developments influencing his personal style. Why and how the move from IT to art? I have always been fascinated with art. The idea of turning a piece of blank paper into a visual stimuli using my bare hands always made sense to me. I did a 12-month course in IT because my parents didn’t support the art idea and they figured it would be a nice hobby and not a career. So I did the course and I passed, even though I hated every single day of it. As soon as I got my diploma I convinced my parents to enroll me into an art school, as I had secured ‘something to fall back on’ if ever the arts didn’t work for me. What has been the biggest influence, personally, on your art career so far? My biggest influence has to be my family and friends. I learn and experience so much from them. I am merely a product of my environment. What excites you about art? The inception and creation of a thought or idea from nothing. There is something godly about creating something from nothing that really excites me. What kinds of developments and trends influence what you’re working on? I’m influenced by street art and conceptual photography. My work was highly influenced by Nandipha Mntambo's works. I just fell in love with the juxtaposition of her artworks. Bevan De Wet is another artist who has influenced the juxtaposition of the hybrid of animal and man. What are your plans for 2014? My internship at Artist Proof Studio is over and it was a great pleasure to work there. I learned a great deal and now the time has come for me to fly and make them and myself proud. I have a lot of incomplete work waiting for my time and attention. I have also picked up a new photography hobby and started a business called Somewhere In South Africa. We have some very interesting projects lined up. What can people look forward to in terms of your work over the next two years? My work will only grow, develop and change, as is the nature of life. I am exploring new territory in the arts as an emerging artist and Top 100 artist at the Thami Mnyele Fine Art Competition for 2013. I am only humbled to be noticed and acknowledged. People can only expect more work as I have more time to develop my ideas. Interviewed by Katharyn Williams-Jafthaa